Photography Courtesy of Bert Quibuyen
His father is a musician who plays in a band; his mother also draws, while his brother is a hairdresser of note. It is all in the genes. That is how to describe best the talent of young Filipino upcoming artist, Patrick Cruz, the winner of RBC Canadian Painting Competition held in November 2015.
His winning creation from among the 600 Canada wide artists submission was an acrylic on canvass titled “Time Allergy”. His inspiration came from the busy street life in the Philippines and how the Spaniards who colonized the Philippines for more than 400 years brought the concept of time to the Filipinos. He said it is a reflection of the post colonial condition of the Philippines.
He was rewarded with $25,000 cash prize and a valuable recognition as the best artist in the competition.
Patrick grew up in the Philippines and migrated to Canada with his family in 2005. They settled in Surrey where he spent a big part of his growing up dreaming of becoming another Santiago Bose, his model artist whose works amazed him tremendously. He lights up as he describes Bose’ works – the execution, the drawn up lines with lots of collage, and the unconventional ways of doing his paintings.
He was on his first year in Fine Arts at the Philippines when his parents, who were both educators and earning decent income, decided to go to Canada, purposely to look for more economic opportunities and give a better future for the family.
For him, the move was a struggle. He had to leave his friends, his way of life, his roots, and get a foothold in a country which culture is different from what he grew up with. It was not easy. But eventually, he learned to cope up. He learned how to earn a living.
His first job was to fry chicken in a fast food center, a classic immigrant experience which every young immigrant considers “rite of passage”. However it was an experience that taught him how to be responsible in life. He continued with his studies first at Emily Carr University of Arts and Design in British Columbia, and then went to University of Guelph, Ontario for his Masters Degree in Fine Arts.
For his part, looking back at his roots, Cruz is bringing back his artistry to his hometown – Kamias, Quezon City. He is calling it “Kamias Trinale”, an experimental art show which is meant to take place every three years at his grandparents backyard in Kamias QC, Philippines. It involves Canadian artists and Filipino artists with works depicting a dialogue between the two places, a way of engaging two separate places that have strong connections – knowing full well the strong Filipino presence in Canada, now the third largest visible minority in the country.
Cruz’ paintings were exhibited recently at Center A in Chinatown, Vancouver, BC last March 4, 2016. And he is preparing for more exhibits in the coming months.
Patrick Cruz, young, talented, ambitious, yet disciplined, is worthy of emulation which every aspiring artist should look up to as a role model. He is proud to be a Filipino and every Filipino should be proud of him.